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SAN ANTONIO -- New technology is helping surgical patients get through their operations in a faster, more efficient way.

The program is called OR Control and University Hospital is the first in San Antonio to implement the process.

The idea is to track patients so that doctors and families know what is going on at all times.

At the airport, you re used to glancing at the arrival and departure board. Now, instead of keeping track of airplanes, a similar board at University Hospital keeps track of surgical patients.

With 17 operating rooms and 50 to 60 inpatient and outpatient surgeries occurring each day, the staff needed a better way to keep up and stay organized.

So we can start cases on time better, have our turn times even shorter, and it does increase efficiency, said Will Stokes, University Health System decision support analyst.

When a patient enters the department, their chart is fitted with a digital tag that transmits the patient s location to receivers throughout the floor.

For families waiting, it s a reassuring way to find out what s going on, whether their loved one is in pre-op, the operating room, or recovery.

In order to stay informed and to keep everyone informed as well, phone calls coming in and so forth, this board has helped us find out exactly where he s at, said Yvette Longoria, the niece of a man undergoing prostate surgery at University Hospital.

In the 10 months the hospital has been using the system, University has been able to fit in more surgeries and save time.

It is nifty and very dynamic, Stokes said.

The information on the boards is anonymous to all but the staff and families so it s HIPAA compliant.

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